Current figures for the annual press conference

Kitchen furniture industry expects sales growth of up to 10 percent

Good news from the annual press conference of the Association of the German Kitchen Furniture Industry (VdDK). As of July 2021, sales in the German kitchen furniture industry are clearly above the level of the comparable period of 2020 with plus 14.7 percent and also to the pre-Corona year 2019. The first half of 2021 went well thanks to strong export business, the ongoing shortage of materials is also causing increasing delivery times here.

Sep 20 2021

The German kitchen furniture industry, with a total of just over 17,300 employees in around 50 companies with over 50 employees nationwide, is in a comparatively good economic position, according to the association in a recent report.
"The overall situation remains tense - despite good growth figures and high demand: due to disruptions in supply chains, material supply, logistical processes and - with stagnating vaccination rates - possibly labor availability," is the assessment of Stefan Waldenmaier, Chairman of the Board of the German Kitchen Furniture Industry Association (VdDK e.V.), Herford.

Despite justified optimism, caution is therefore called for in all forecasts, as VdDK Managing Director Jan Kurth emphasized. And he added: "We are of course pleased with the good sales growth in the first half of 2021, but this is based on low base values from the previous year. In the second half of the year, this development will weaken as the effects of the sales tax reduction take hold from July 2020. Nevertheless, we expect an exceptionally good 2021 business year for the German kitchen furniture industry."

Kitchen industry needs vibrant trade fair landscape

The best indicator of confidence in the markets is the kitchen industry's in-house and joint exhibitions in East Westphalia-Lippe, which are once again well frequented. In the current "kitchen autumn" towards the end of September, around 150 manufacturers from the kitchen industry are showing their latest products on a total area of around 50,000 square meters at a total of twelve locations. 

Sales growth in 2021 still driven by exports 

At over 1.46 billion euros, foreign sales as of July already account for 44 percent of total sales. This means that business on the other side of the border is picking up again nicely after the severe market distortions in 2020. 

By the end of July, domestic business had contributed sales of EUR 1.83 billion to the overall result, 6.7 percent up on the previous year. For some time now, it has been noticeable that the value of incoming orders in Germany - even during downturns - has generally been higher than the number of orders received. This fact, which is significant for the sector, indicates rising average prices, which in turn reflect the higher value of kitchens and greater value awareness on the part of consumers.

Wood, metal, packaging, paper - hardly available or increasingly expensive

The positive development described in the first half of 2021 is particularly significant because it is taking place against the backdrop of major external challenges: The networks of global supply chains are disrupted and many materials are hardly available or only significantly more expensive. For example, around half of the association's member companies say that material availability is becoming even more acute.

The negative list is headed by coated particleboard, as four-fifths of the member companies complain. This is closely followed by a lack of uncoated particleboard, HDF and MDF. Metal parts have also become much scarcer, as two-thirds of the companies confirm. 

Demand driven by long-term trends

Cooking is high on the consumer agenda. The effects of the Corona crisis have reinforced this trend. This requires modern fitted kitchens and fascinating electrical appliances, which is fuelling the propensity to renovate and buy. The boom in delivery services is hardly getting in the way of this pleasing development. The issues of regionality, carbon footprint and sustainability are also currently playing into the industry's hands.

Kitchens and furniture 'Made in Germany' stand for top quality

Kitchens made in Germany have a first-class reputation worldwide, but especially on the domestic market. And the willingness of customers to spend good money on good things is unbroken. This is also demonstrated by a new study on per capita spending on kitchens in 2020, published in July of this year. At 401 euros/household, more than half (53%) of all furniture spending (760 euros/household) goes on kitchens, including all the product groups represented there.

Kitchens should be mostly light and silk matt, natural and of high quality

In the case of kitchen cabinets, consumers' increased value awareness is reflected in the choice of materials and design. Whereas years ago it was mainly foil and melamine resin fronts that were in demand, for two-thirds of the member companies, lacquer and lacquer laminate are the dominant front designs today. High gloss is now less in demand, at least in the mid to upper price range - for over 90 percent of companies, matt surfaces are en vogue. 

In terms of color, white and beige dominate, but gray, anthracite and black are also desired. Natural materials, good storage solutions and, in particular, the "fusion of living and cooking" dominate customer demand. Smart home solutions and networked kitchens are currently an important topic for one in ten manufacturers.

VdDK Chairman Stefan Waldenmaier and VdDK Managing Director Jan Kurth agree that it is not easy to give an outlook at the moment - processes that cannot be influenced, some of which are global, are too great. "In the most recent survey of our members, the majority of respondents indicated that they expect sales to increase for the full year 2021, in some cases significantly. Our revenue forecast for 2021 as a whole is therefore up to 10 percent," Kurth said. "We are pleased that this growth can be seen across all company sizes. According to this, the industry is on a more solid foundation after the Corona crisis than before!"

Stefan Waldenmaier nevertheless attempts a more far-reaching forecast: "In the longer term, too, nothing stands in the way of continuing the 'kitchen' success story: domestically, the baby boomers now massively entering retirement want to settle down once again, and accumulated assets are at all-time highs."
The Corona pandemic was perhaps only the trigger of a trend reversal that has been emerging for some time, according to the association: Just as regionality is gaining in importance over globalization, the 'globetrotter' is increasingly becoming a cocooning advocate. One's own home is thus becoming increasingly important."

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